The Temple Beth Rishon community comes together every week to observe Shabbat. At other times throughout the year, we join together to celebrate Jewish Holidays and Festival events with participatory prayer, spiritual music, congregational meals, and a sense of togetherness and belonging.
Following are brief descriptions of the major Jewish holidays celebrated at Temple Beth Rishon, including descriptions of the unique ways in which we celebrate together as a congregation. If you have any questions regarding any of these holidays or celebrations, please do not hesitate to contact the Rabbi, the Cantoror our VP of Religion, Michael Goldberg.
The holidays are listed according to the Jewish calendar in chronological order beginning with the Fall High Holy Day Season.
S’lichot - September 15-16, 2017 We prepare spiritually for the solemnity of the upcoming High Holidays on Erev S’lichot with a collaborative community program featuring rabbis and cantors from neighboring synagogues. The evening includes a Havdalah service, an educational activity, S’lichot prayers, and the sounding of the shofar.
Rosh Hashanah - September 20-22, 2017 Rosh Hashanah is the holiday marking the start of the Jewish New Year, a time for self-reflection and prayer. Our sanctuary is filled to capacity as we gather together to worship as a congregation. Our clergy's words and voices inspire us during these high holiday services. When the harmonious voices of the TBR Kol Rishon adult choir, led by the Cantor, are combined with selected soloists and congregational singing, it uplifts us spiritually as well. Numerous members are honored by being invited to actively participating in our High Holiday services. Age appropriate youth programs are provided concurrently in our Educational Wing. At the conclusion of our service, a Tashlich Family Service is held. Click here for specific information about this year's High Holidays.
We provide live streaming of our High Holiday Services which is then projected onto large screens in the sanctuary to allow better viewing from all seating sections. The streaming enables viewing in our overflow area, as well as home viewing for people who are not well enough to attend in person or who are out of town. Click here to learn how to access these videos.
Yom Kippur - September 29-30, 2017 Inspirational services mark the solemnity of Yom Kippur, beginning with the evening service of Kol Nidre on Erev Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur, as on Rosh Hashanah, our dynamic clergy intensify the meditative spirit of our prayers by empowering us to sing with one voice, as a community. The harmonious voices of Kol Rishon enhance our worship experience. Age appropriate youth programs are provided concurrently in our Educational Wing. These services are also streamed as explained above.
Our Yom Kippur day service if followed by a Yizkor memorial service is open to the community. We conclude the Day of Atonement with the sounding of the shofar and Havdalah. After the service, all of our congregants are invited to share a copious and enjoyable Break Fast provided at the temple. Click here for specific information about this year's High Holidays.
Sukkot - October 4-11, 2017 This joyous fall holiday is a time of feasting and giving thanks! Our congregants organize the building of a sukkah on the synagogue patio and our school children provide decorations. The evening Erev Sukkot service is followed by a congregational dinner and a bonfire under the stars. After the Sukkot morning service, our congregants share a festival luncheon provided by the temple. Our annual Sukkah Hop is much anticipated by our members and takes place in the backyards of several gracious congregants who volunteer their homes.
Simchat Torah - October 11-13, 2017 This holiday literally means “rejoicing with the Torah.” The last portion of the Torah in the book of Deuteronomy and the first verses of the book of Genesis are read in the same Temple service, signifying that the Torah has no beginning and no end. To demonstrate clearly that we are rejoicing, our evening service includes music provided by the TBR Klezmer AllStars, joyous dancing and the traditional unrolling of the full Torah scroll which is then held up by congregants throughout the sanctuary. The service is followed by a festive congregational dinner. After the morning Simchat Torah service and Yizkor prayers, a festival luncheon is provided.
Chanukah - December 12-20, 2017 The Festival of Lights commemorates the miracle of the burning of the oil in the Temple menorah for eight days. Our festive and fun Shabbat pre-Chanukah evening begins with a traditional latke dinner. After a short Shabbat service, a concert featuring an established musical guest from the Jewish music world carefully selected by our Cantor begins.
During the weeks prior to and leading up to Chanukah, our students and youth group participate in candle lighting and Chanukah related activities. Within the surrounding Jewish community, we participate in menorah lighting ceremonies and holiday gift giving programs. TBR's Chanukah celebration culminates with our annual Chanukah Fun Day, a highlight for children and adults of all ages, which features entertainment, games, snacks and collection of food or clothing for the community. Click here for specific information about this year's Chanukah celebration.
For Chanukah blessings in both Hebrew and transliteration, click here.
Tu B’Shevat - February 11-12, 2017 This holiday celebrates the new year of the trees. A lively Shabbat Shira (Sabbath of Song) evening service marks this holiday, with the participation of both Kol Rishon, our outstanding adult choir and Zemer Rishon, our talented teen choir. Our Religious School students participate in Tu B'Shevat seders during the week leading up to the holiday.
Purim - March 11-12, 2017 We delight in celebrating this merriest of Jewish holidays with noise makers, hamantashen, and colorful costumes. The Erev Purim family Megillah reading is followed by a festive meal. After dinner, members may also enjoy a lively Megillah reading specifically geared for adults. The festivities culminate with TBR's annual Purim Carnival on Sunday, continuing the fun with interactive games, creative crafts, and holiday eating.
Passover - April 10-18, 2017 During this spring festival, we recall the exodus from Egypt and liberation for the Jewish people from slavery. One of the major elements of Passover is the seder (meaning “order”), a ritual dinner with a prescribed order of prayers, readings and songs that are found in a special book called the Haggadah. Traditionally, we hold a Congregational seder on the second night, which is led by our clergy and is open to the community.
At TBR, we begin our observance with a pre-Passover Shabbat musical service with the participation of our TBR adult and teen choirs. We celebrate the first and seventh days of Passover with morning services followed by festival luncheons. On the seventh day, the morning service includes Yizkor prayers to give us an opportunity to remember and reflect on the lives of those who have passed away. During the seven days of Passover, our Men’s choir participates in a Shabbat morning Passover service. Click here for specific information of this year's Passover celebration as well as a contract for selling the chametz to the Rabbi.
Yom Ha’Shoah - April 24, 2017 We honor the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust as we participate in a community-wide Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration. The program includes a Yizkor Service.
Yom Ha’atzmaut - May 2, 2017 Israel’s Independence Day is acknowledged and celebrated with a “Celebrate Israel" Shabbat Service of choral pieces and folk songs. We participate in a community concert that also includes recognition of Yom HaZikaron (Israel's Day of Remembrance.)
Shavu'ot - May 30 - June 1, 2017 This festival celebrates the day the Jewish people were given the Torah and the time of the spring harvest. The graduation ceremony for our tenth grade Confirmation class takes place at the Erev Shavu'ot service. The morning service and Yizkor prayers are followed by a traditional dairy luncheon.